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Dayton Infant Mortality Prevention Advocates To Talk Nurse Visiting Programs With Governor's Office

Montgomery County's Help Me Grow Brighter Futures visiting nurse program is designed to prevent infant mortality by supporting high-risk women during and after pregnancy.
Jess Mador
/
WYSO
Montgomery County's Help Me Grow Brighter Futures visiting nurse program is designed to prevent infant mortality by supporting high-risk women during and after pregnancy.

Ohio has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country. Gov. Mike DeWine has made reducing state infant deaths a top priority, calling for more investment in programs designed to help bring rates down.

On Tuesday, some DeWine administration officials plan to visit a Dayton-area nonprofit that matches at-risk pregnant women and children with visiting nurses.

Numbers show Montgomery County’s infant mortality rate is among the worst in Ohio. For African American babies that rate is even higher, fueled in part by prematurity and low birthweight.

It’s a disparity echoed statewide.

To bring infant mortality down the DeWine administration is calling for a long list of initiatives, including expanding home visiting programs to reach three times the number of families that currently receive services.

The administration released a detailed plan last month.  

“Evidence-based home visiting programs help give children the best possible start in life and increasing participation can help lower infant mortality rates, increase kindergarten readiness and improve parenting skills,” said Gov. DeWine in a statement. “Strong children grow into strong adults, so an investment in these proven programs is an investment in our state’s future." 

Marianne Pohlmann with Montgomery County’s Help Me Grow Brighter Futures program says a wealth of national data show home visiting works to support the most at-risk parents.

“It reduces the amount of emergency room visits, it reduces child neglect, it increases childhood readiness in preschool and increases scores on math by 25 percent,” she says.

A handful of Dayton health and hospital officials are expected to discuss these and other findings Tuesday with DeWine’s Director of Children’s Initiatives, LeeAnne Cornyn.

The Help Me Grow Brighter Futures-hosted meeting is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. at the Montgomery County Job Center in Room 292.